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Football

The Greatest Premier League Sides of All Time

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Monday 26th March 2018

The Greatest Premier League Sides of All Time

Since it's inception in it's current form in 1992, the Premier League has become a global commercial juggernaut. At present, it broadcasts games to a potential audience of 4.7 billion people, with people desperate to watch some of the world's biggest clubs and best players perform week in, week out. 

Some of the most recognisably successful teams in the world over the last 25 years have been Premier League teams: a team of 'invincibles', a treble-winning team and more.

One of the teams rapidly progressing towards this elite class of Premier League sides is current league leaders Manchester City. Managed by Pep Guardiola, City have been on a different level to rest of the league this season: they won 18 consecutive games to set a new Premier League record, and at this moment in time are on course to break the records for most wins, points and goals in a season. 

City look set to be a major force in English football for years to come, and they could even compete in European competitions - at present, they are still in the Champions League. But how do they compare to teams of years gone by? And just how good were those sides?

Arsenal 'Invincibles' - 2003/2004 

Many an Arsenal fan will longingly look back at the Highbury days of Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira and Dennis Bergkamp. Arsene Wenger's side entertained with fluid football and a star-studded side for years, but they peaked with a truly history-making season in 2003/2004. 

Arsenal did the unthinkable in that campaign, going unbeaten in the league for the whole season. They finished the season having won 26 league games, drawing 12 and losing none, cementing themselves in the history books. A draw with fierce rivals Tottenham Hotspur secured the title for 'The Gunners', as they were crowned Premier League champions at the ground of their rivals. 

Thierry Henry was the man everybody had to look out for that season: the Frenchman scored a huge 30 goals in the league, and the Frenchman won the PFA Player of the Year award for a second successive year, highlighting just how good he and Arsenal were at the time. Arsenal have since failed to win the league title, but this remains a time that everybody assosciated with the club remembers fondly.

Manchester United - 2008/2009

Manchester United are the most successful Premier League side of all time - their trophy cabinet boasts more trophies than any other side, and their list of former players reads as a 'who's who' of Premier League greats. Who could forget the likes of the maverick Eric Cantona, or the brilliant Cristiano Ronaldo? Then there is Ryan Giggs who enjoyed a stunning 24 year professional career with the club, with countless others that deserve a mention. Even their famous manager Sir Alex Ferguson is widely regarded as one of the managerial greats - arguably the greatest manager of all time.

In 2008, United lifted the Champions League trophy in Moscow after defeating fellow Premier League side Chelsea on penalties in the final. The season that followed saw them go from strength to strength as they lifted a third consecutive Premier League trophy, as well as the League Cup, Community Shield and Club World Cup. In addition to all the silverware they obtained, United set a record for consecutive clean sheets with 14 - proving that they were just as good at the back as they were up front.

It was also the season that sealed Cristiano Ronaldo's mega-money move to Real Madrid. The Portuguese superstar finished the season as United's top goalscorer, with his flair and goals being a constant highlight in their Premier League campaign. 

Manchester United - 1998/1999

When you hear the phrase 'Class of 92', you cast your mind back to the Manchester United side that saw success from the inception of the Premier League through to their famous Champions League comeback to complete the treble in 1999. 

David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Gary and Phil Neville and Nicky Butt make up that 'class', having won the FA Youth Cup in 1992, graduating from the youth ranks and forging successful careers with Manchester United. Five of them were present in the squad when United scored twice in injury time to beat Bayern Munich in the 1999 Champions League final after being a goal down for most of the game.

United had great success domestically that season: they pipped Arsenal to the Premier League - or Premiership as it was then known - title, and they won the FA Cup with a 2-0 win over Newcastle United, making up two of the trophies that saw them complete the treble with their Champions League win. The United team from this season is one of the most famous sides in English football, and with the success they had, it is not hard to see why they are remembered so fondly. 

Chelsea - 2004/2005

When Jose Mourinho arrived at Chelsea soon after winning the Champions League with Porto, there was plenty of belief that he could take them to the next level but what happened next was something special. 

Chelsea blitzed through the league on their way to their first Premier League trophy, and set a host of records in the process: they set a new record for the highest points total in a Premier League season with 95, as well as the most away wins in the season, and more.

Frank Lampard cemented his spot as one of the best midfielders in the world that season as he finished Chelsea's top goalscorer in the league, whilst the likes of Didier Drogba, Eidur Gudjohnsen and Joe Cole also all chipped in with plenty of goals. At the back, John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho proved to be rocks, with Chelsea only conceding 15 goals all season - another record - whilst scoring 72 up the other end. 

A true powerhouse in English football at the time, there was something unique about this Chelsea side.

Of course, there have been plenty of great sides in English football since the inception of the Premier League. Leicester City stunned the world with their title win in the 2015/2016 season, and there have been occasions where very strong teams have come within a whisker of winning silverware - Liverpool in 2013/2014 for example. 

Who do you think is the greatest Premier League side of all time? Let us know over on Twitter @TeamFA

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